Opinion

An opinion is a view, not a reality. It’s possible to have different opinions about the same thing. Reality is rigid but opinions are choice. Many emotions are the result of opinion over reality. So you can negotiate your emotions simply by changing your opinion. It is also possible (and often desirable) to have no opinion about a thing, and thus no reaction.

Narrow the scope of your opinions; wait before having them.

Don’t Push Me

Turn off all notifications. Slowly turn back on the ones you miss. After a few weeks you’ll only get those from the people you most love and the (few!) services you regularly need. New information can no longer be “pushed” to you; you decide when to pull it.

You will be much slower to respond to everything else. At times this will frustrate those used to the status quo of entering each other’s consciousness at-will by simple finger-tapping. But you have the right not to be pushed.

(Osaka)

Time and Money

You can spend time to make money, and you can spend money to buy time. So you can use money to buy some time to spend making more money, and repeat. The more money you have, the more time you can spend to make more. In some ways this setup contributes to wealth concentration by creating leverage on time.

But still money doesn’t make time. So there’s a limit to how much it’s worth spending time making money versus elsewhere. Time is the real store of value. Maybe the wealth redistribution conversation should include distribujtion of time.

(Osaka)

Choosing Discomfort

Taking dead cold showers every morning will make you happier. Your body will make dynorphins, which make you feel uncomfortable. But inresponse to that it will also create new opioid receptors, which makes you sensitive to the next batch of endorphins, wherever they come from. The repeated act of choosing and resisting discomfort also increases your resistance to physiological stress. So taking cold showers every morning makes you (1) more receptive to good sensations, and (2) more resistant to negative ones. 

Same rules for life. Pain is useful because it increases your sensitivity to pleasure and your ability to deal with subsequent pain. Both are important for a happy and fulfilled life.

(Osaka)

Timing

The wise know timing is everything in life. Timing changes the nature of things. Good timing can make the best of anything and bad timing can ruin anything. Time itself is a constant, but timing is part of an act. You can’t control time, but you can influence timing. Waiting well is one way to do it.

Good judgement is also about timing. Some good things seem bad in the moment, just as other good things may reveal themselves to be bad later. So it’s good to wait and judge things at the right time. Or not judge at all.

(This one in Beijing)

Waiting

Waiting is hard because it feels like doing nothing when you should be doing something. But it’s easier to do when you consider it an action rather than inaction. Choosing to wait is doing something. So you can let go of the anxiety that you’re doing nothing. 

Still, active waiting is hard. Like conscious breathing, it’s a difficult but universally useful skill. But because it is a skill, it can be developed and eventually mastered.

The first thing to learn when to wait. The answer is always. Waiting should precede every action. You can train this by actively waiting before small actions. A good exercise is to add a deep breath before every step in a routine process, like making coffee or preparing for bed.

The second thing to learn is how long to wait. This is hard because the answer can be a second or a decade. You can wait too little, and you can wait too long. This one comes with experience and I don’t have enough to teach it. But it starts with learning when to wait.

(New York)